TinyBuild, the game's publisher, has enjoyed the game's immense popularity among YouTube content creators and the game's weirdly young fanbase, and now the publisher is capitalizing on that foundation of support with a Hello Neighbor animated feature.
The six-minute "Test Pilot" will air for free this Friday, April 17 at 10 am Pacific on TinyBuild's YouTube channel. Additional content will be available behind a subscriber paywall, including an extended 20-minute version of the Test Pilot and more behind-the-scenes access and interviews, though the publisher wasn't shy about its intentions to drum up interest in the series among more than just fans. "The 6-minute pilot will be used to not only bring in fans but attract interest from established studios," said the publisher in a press release.
Like the game, the cartoon revolves around young kids who are intent on sneaking into the basement of their mysterious neighbor to discover the (possibly literal) skeletons in his closet. The story for the pilot episode was written by Carly Anne West, who has also penned four of the tie-in novels which have combined for more than two million copies sold. Animation has been handled by Animasia Studio, which has worked on series for Cartoon Network Asia.
Critically, the Hello Neighbor series has been nearly universally panned. 49 critics contributed to the original game's 42 average, with only 8% of them recommending the game for play. Bugs and faulty AI were the root cause of many negative reviews. The series has since spawned two more games, the asymmetrical multiplayer spinoff Secret Neighbor and a prequel, Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek. While the former was largely ignored by critics, the latter received similarly poor ratings. Today it has a 38 from seven critics.
Still, none of that has stopped the series from being one of the most popular games to watch on YouTube where its younger audience flocks to it as a gateway horror. Like Fortnite and other trendy games for different audiences, Hello Neighbor has maintained a peer pressure over content creators who must often choose between satiating their audience's desire to watch Hello Neighbor or lose their attention to someone else.